Sansa Connect is Shipping

by Miguel de Icaza

The Mono-based Sansa Connect MP3 player is now shipping.

The device comes with WiFi and 4 gigs of space for 250 dollars (50 dollars more expensive than the equivalent iPod, but comes with WiFi, internet radio and a Flickr browser). It has an expansion slot, so you can add more memory to it, so you can upgrade the space without upgrading the hardware and it integrates with Yahoo Music.

I will be ordering mine today.

Engadget has an updated review, it is pretty good, but they say regarding the music services:

We're disappointed that the Connect isn't a little more open than it is; we'd like to be able to stream whatever the heck we want for starters, but Yahoo! Music Unlimited and LAUNCHcast aren't bad starts. Now the trick is to keep up the WiFi momentum for these things -- Apple, Creative, iRiver, Archos, we're looking straight at you!

Someone on the blog comments a few months ago asked whether Zing would open up the platform for people to develop plugins for it, but it seems that at this point they have no plans to do so. I wish they did.

Online Music Services

A problem with the Sansa Connect is that Yahoo Music does not have a Linux client.

I am currently a Rhapsody user, and I use it mostly on the Windows machine that I use for testing .NET and reading the MSDN documentation. Although Rhapsody has a Linux client, you must be using Firefox to play your music (they use a firefox plugin and a web page with Javascript for their web player).

The situation is far from ideal, I would much rather have Banshee be my music front end.

So this weekend I tried to make a fake plugin host that would trick the Rhapsody plugin into loading, but am getting one misterious crash while calling NP_Initialize in the plugin (it loads Flash just fine) (source here, in case someone feels like debugging it).

Posted on 09 Apr 2007


First Race to Linux, Winners

by Miguel de Icaza

Lam Loune is the winner of our first Race to Linux. Lam is from Australia and ported Microsoft's Small Business Starter Kit to Linux.

Lam picked Mono and XSP to do the port, he completed the port in five hours and twenty six minutes (5:26) since the race started.

Hector Ramirez from Mexico was the first to port the Small Business Starter Kit to Linux using Grasshopper (so the software runs on a Java VM). Sorry, I do not have the time for this one.

They both won Wii's.

The Small Business Starter Kit is a sample ASP.NET 2.0 application that Microsoft distributes for people to study the patterns and best practices while developing a web application.

This race shows that although Mono and Grasshopper do not have a 100% coverage for the entire application stack, it is possible to port most ASP.NET code out there.

And its also interesting that the port was done by two newcomers to Mono.

Check the Race to Linux page for upcoming articles describing how these applications were ported.

Congratulations to Hector and Lam, and good luck for the folks on the second Race!

Posted on 31 Mar 2007


Mexico City

by Miguel de Icaza

Am flying to Mexico City for the week; Mauro convinced me to buy a cheap ticket through Kayak.

Tacos tonight!

Posted on 31 Mar 2007


Google in the News

by Miguel de Icaza

Two fascinating bits today:

Google using solar power in the Google campus:

The move to solar made sense for Google, and not just "hippie Gaia-loving" sense. Ravitz said that Google will earn its investment back in 7.5 years, after which it will continue to enjoy inexpensive power for decades. With the company sprawled across a large campus of many low buildings, roof space was easily available. Solar also has the unique property of pumping out more energy when power is the most expensive --- peak afternoon hours. When air conditioners across California kick into action on sunny days, Google generates the most power.

Then the fantastic response to Viacom. Worth reading the whole thing:

Viacom is attempting to rewrite established copyright law through a baseless lawsuit. In February, after negotiations broke down, Viacom requested that YouTube take down more than 100,000 videos. We did so immediately, working through a weekend. Viacom later withdrew some of those requests, apparently realizing that those videos were not infringing, after all. Though Viacom seems unable to determine what constitutes infringing content, its lawyers believe that we should have the responsibility and ability to do it for them. Fortunately, the law is clear, and on our side.

Posted on 30 Mar 2007


Interview

by Miguel de Icaza

A few years ago I met Andreas Proschofsky, a reporter that knew a lot about Mono dynamics, group and technicalities. It has ever since a pleasure to do interviews with Andreas as they are typically interesting conversations.

This year I did not attend the Brainshare conference so we did an email interview on the state of Mono. And this year he published it in English.

Re-reading my replies looks like they were answered by a robot though, it certainly felt more human when I originally replied to that email.

The crowd at OSNews got upset because I said advocate more collaboration between Mono and Microosft. It is hardly news, I advocated the same thing in August during an interview that I did with Sam Ramji from Microsoft, before I knew of any MS/Novell collaboration.

Posted on 26 Mar 2007


Bill Maher Monologues

by Miguel de Icaza

The last two weeks the "New Rules" Monologues from Bill Maher have been fantastic. They are now available on YouTube:

Posted on 25 Mar 2007


Lame Blog: The Official Entry

by Miguel de Icaza

This is the official blog entry for the spicy Lame Blog an under-powered, static content, C# and rsync based blog system.

LameBlog is powered by almost nothing, the idea is that you edit text files with your favorite text editor on your computer, and when you feel like publishing your blog entries you type "make push".

Configuration of LameBlog is done through an XML file and editing a Makefile. It contains enough so you can hook reddit/digg and plug your Google Analytics, Google Reader sharing and to do posts with Google groups.

Ismael Olea has modified LameBlog for using Haloscan for comments and include a bunch of "flag me as a cool cat" options.

To download LameBlog, click on "download as tarball" on the link above, read the README file for details on how to install this.

Update: folks, I need your help. Please link to this blog entry, there are tons of Google matches for "Lame Blog", but only a piece of software deserves to be at the top spot, not some lame entry about blogging.

Posted on 24 Mar 2007


Second Ad

by Miguel de Icaza

A follow up to yesterday's spoof ad from Novell. This is part 2. Click here for watching it at YouTube.

Alternatively, you can get the mpg or ogg files directly from Novell's site.

Posted on 21 Mar 2007


Novell Linux Ad

by Miguel de Icaza

Yesterday at Brainshare Novell had this video spoof on Apple's campaign.

Direct link

Mhm, it seems to go down (some "high database load" message or something). If you have problems go here: http://www.novell.com/video and then click on "PC Mac Linux (0:55)".

Or you can download the mpg file or ogg file.

Other videos from Brainshare are here.

Posted on 20 Mar 2007


Shader Languages

by Miguel de Icaza

The other day I wrote:

The other day Cody Russell was asking on IRC what we could do in the Mono universe to take advantage of some special instruction sets like SIMD or how to use C# to generate code for pixel shaders or vertex shaders.

One idea that we discussed was the creation of a library that would be able to expose this kind of functionality.

jeevan.james pointed out on the comments to that blog entry that there is already a project that is working on precisely this idea.

The project is called Brahma-FX and is hosted at SourceForge. And its implemented in a similar spirit that I described on that post.

They use C# as the language to express the shading operations, they decompile the code at runtime and compile that to the hardware specific shading system.

For example to invert an image, they write:


	public override void Compute (Vector2 kernel_position)
	{
		Vector4 color = Sample2D (0, kernel_position);
		Output = new Vector4 (1.0f - color.X, 1.0f - color.Y, 1.0f - color.Z, 1.0f);
	}
	

Currently they have a compiler only for DirectX (and stubs for OpenGL and XNA) it looks like a great project to contribute to.

Ananth's blog is here.

Posted on 19 Mar 2007


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